Common Eye Conditions

Blepharitis

This is an inflammatory disorder of the eyelids often caused by a chronic bacterial infection.

Symptoms

  • Redness of the eyelids
  • Flaking of skin on the lids and lashes
  • Gritty eyes

Treatment

  • Lid hygiene
  • Wet warm compress
  • Removal of debris
  • Antibiotics in severe cases

Dry Eye

This is caused by either deficient tear production or abnormal tears.

Symptoms

  • Dry, burning or itchy eyes
  • In some cases watery eyes (when tear film is abnormal)
  • Feeling as if something in the eye
  • Sensitive to light

Treatment

  • Where it is caused by a lack of tears, rehydration drops will relieve symptoms
  • With abnormal tear film, lubricating drops or ointments
  • Apply solutions regularly
  • Essential to continue course after symptoms have receded, other discomfort will return

Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition where a person has a high blood sugar either due to a due to a lack of insulin production (Type 1), or the bodies inability use the insulin properly (Type 2).

Symptoms

  • Blurred and variable vision
  • Distorted vision, both central and peripheral in long term diabetics

Treatment

  • Ensure that blood sugars are well controlled
  • Routine eye examinations to monitor for any changes
  • Referral to Eye Clinic for laser or ocular injections where diabetic changes are detected

Cataracts

This is a condition where the lens in the eye becomes opaque or cloudy.

Symptoms

  • Gradual loss of vision, often becoming cloudy
  • Glare problems
  • Reduction in colour vision

Treatment

  • Ensure that the eye is protected from UV light with sunglasses
  • Ensure spectacles are up to date, as cataract can often increase prescription changes
  • Routine eye examinations to monitor for any changes
  • Referral to Eye Clinic for cataract extraction when quality of life is being affected

Macular Degeneration

This is a condition where there is a loss central vision, due to damage to the retina. It is divided into wet and dry forms of the condition.

Symptoms

  • Difficulty in being able to read
  • Unable to recognise people’s faces
  • Sudden loss of vision in one eye
  • Distorted vision

Treatment

  • Ensure routine eye examinations are carried out
  • Where there is a sudden change in vision ensure an urgent eye exam is completed
  • If suitable, an urgent referral to the eye clinic for treatment with ocular injections
  • Ensure that where all treatments have been carried out, magnifiers and lighting are reviewed

Glaucoma

This is a disorder where the optic nerve suffers damage, mostly due to a build-up of pressure in the eye. This results in a gradual loss of peripheral field of vision and is often asymptomatic in the early stages.

Symptoms

  • Initially there is a loss of peripheral vision, leading to tunnel vision if left untreated.
  • Central vision can be affected in advanced stages of the disease.
  • Rarely, a sudden onset of a red painful eye.

Treatment

  • Screening of the eye pressure as part of routine eye examinations is essential. 1 in 10 over 80 year olds have Glaucoma– Managing the condition at the eye clinic is usually with the use of drops but in some cases surgery can help.